Etymology
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bowel (n.)

c. 1300, usually plural, bowels, "human organs of the abdominal cavity," from late 14c. specifically as "human intestines," from Old French boele "intestines, bowels, innards" (12c., Modern French boyau), from Medieval Latin botellus "small intestine," originally "sausage," diminutive of botulus "sausage," a word borrowed from Oscan-Umbrian.

The transferred sense of "the viscera as the seat of emotions" is from late 14c.; especially "inner parts as the seat of pity or kindness," hence "tenderness, compassion." Greek splankhnon (from the same PIE root as spleen) was a word for the principal internal organs, which also were felt in ancient times to be the seat of various emotions. Greek poets, from Aeschylus down, regarded the bowels as the seat of the more violent passions such as anger and love, but by the Hebrews they were seen as the seat of tender affections, especially kindness, benevolence, and compassion. Splankhnon was used in Septuagint to translate a Hebrew word, and from thence early Bibles in English rendered it in its literal sense as bowels, which thus acquired in English a secondary meaning of "pity, compassion" (late 14c.). But in later editions the word often was translated as heart. Bowel movement is attested by 1874.

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guts (n.)

"spirit, courage," 1893, figurative plural of gut (n.). The idea of the bowels as the seat of the spirit goes back to at least mid-14c. (compare bowel).

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botulism (n.)

"poisoning caused by eating imperfectly preserved food," 1878, from German Botulismus (1878), coined in German from Medieval Latin botulus "sausage" (see bowel) + -ismus suffix of action or state (see -ism). The sickness first was traced to eating tainted sausage (sausage poisoning was an old name for it).

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gut (n.)

Old English guttas (plural) "bowels, entrails," literally "a channel," related to geotan "to pour," from Proto-Germanic *gut-, from PIE root *gheu- "to pour." Related to Middle Dutch gote, Dutch goot, German Gosse "gutter, drain," Middle English gote "channel, stream." Meaning "abdomen, belly" is from late 14c. Meaning "narrow passage in a body of water" is from 1530s. Meaning "easy college course" is student slang from 1916, probably from obsolete slang sense of "feast" (the connecting notion is "something that one can eat up"). Sense of "inside contents of anything" (usually plural) is from 1570s. To hate (someone's) guts is first attested 1918. The notion of the intestines as a seat of emotions is ancient (see bowel) and probably explains expressions such as gut reaction (1963), gut feeling (by 1970), and compare guts. Gut check attested by 1976.

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constipation (n.)

c. 1400, "costiveness, bowel condition in which evacuations are obstructed or difficult" (more fully, constipacioun of þe wombe), from Late Latin constipationem (nominative constipatio), noun of state from past-participle stem of Latin constipare "to press or crowd together," from assimilated form of com- "together" (see con-) + stipare "to cram, pack" (see stiff (adj.)).

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defecation (n.)

1640s, "purification of the mind or soul" (figurative); 1650s, "act or process of separating from lees or dregs, a cleansing from impurities," from Late Latin defecationem (nominative deficatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin defaecare "cleanse from dregs, purify," from the phrase de faece "from dregs" (see de- + feces). Meaning "act of evacuating the bowels" is from 1830. An Old English word for "bowel movement" was arse-gang literally "arse-going."

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queasy (adj.)

mid-15c., kyse, coysy, of food, "unsettling to the stomach, apt to cause nausea;" by 1540s of persons or the stomach, "affected with nausea, inclined to vomit;" a word of uncertain origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse kveisa "a boil" (Middle English Compendium compares Old Norse iðra-kveisa "bowel pains"). Or perhaps from or influenced by Anglo-French queisier, from Old French coisier "to wound, hurt, make uneasy," which seems to be from the same Germanic root as kveisa. But the history is obscure and evidences of development are wanting. Related: Queasily; queasiness.

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stool (n.)

Old English stol "seat for one person," from Proto-Germanic *stōla- (source also of Old Frisian stol, Old Norse stoll, Old High German stuol, German Stuhl "seat," Gothic stols "high seat, throne"), from PIE *sta-lo-, locative of root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."(source also of Lithuanian pa-stolas "stand," Old Church Slavonic stolu "stool").

Originally used of thrones (as in cynestol "royal seat, throne"); decline in sense began with adoption of chair (n.) from French, which relegated stool to small seats without arms or backs, then to "privy" (early 15c.) and thence to "bowel movement" (1530s).

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